combining cerges and rex griggs co2 reactors. hooked up, leak testing now - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-05-2013, 06:13 PM
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I haven't tried to run a reactor with and without bioballs in it, but I think it is very unlikely that the bioballs will do anything useful. They may increase the head loss from the reactor. The primary design feature that gets CO2 dissolved into the water is the water flow suspending the CO2 bubbles, at least temporarily, to increase the time when the water and CO2 bubbles are in contact. The big CO2 bubble at the top has relatively little surface in contact with the water, so it is basically the place where CO2 that has failed to dissolve in the water is stored. I wouldn't sacrifice flow rate, which an increased head loss does, just to get water blasted against that big CO2 bubble. One thing that can improve the efficiency of the reactor is smaller CO2 bubbles coming in, so the orifice that the CO2 goes through to get into the reactor should be as small as is practical. I tried one with the CO2 entering through about a 1/2 inch diameter orifice, and it worked very poorly - one big CO2 bubble every 10 seconds, and most of that just collected at the top.

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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-05-2013, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't tried to run a reactor with and without bioballs in it, but I think it is very unlikely that the bioballs will do anything useful. They may increase the head loss from the reactor. The primary design feature that gets CO2 dissolved into the water is the water flow suspending the CO2 bubbles, at least temporarily, to increase the time when the water and CO2 bubbles are in contact. The big CO2 bubble at the top has relatively little surface in contact with the water, so it is basically the place where CO2 that has failed to dissolve in the water is stored. I wouldn't sacrifice flow rate, which an increased head loss does, just to get water blasted against that big CO2 bubble. One thing that can improve the efficiency of the reactor is smaller CO2 bubbles coming in, so the orifice that the CO2 goes through to get into the reactor should be as small as is practical. I tried one with the CO2 entering through about a 1/2 inch diameter orifice, and it worked very poorly - one big CO2 bubble every 10 seconds, and most of that just collected at the top.
I think the ID on the tubing is 1/4". the threaded nipple is threaded at 1/2", but the barb is meant for the ID of the tube. so hopefully that works.

I only got so far as to cement the 1" slip coupling to the inside of the 2" to 1" bushing. effectively making it a slip on both sides! Surprisingly, the connection seems very strong; I couldn't twist it or move it after letting it sit for a few hours. I'm sure it'll hold.

With the last reactor I made I had luck sticking course black foam where the co2 inlet was, in hopes of breaking the co2 up even more as it entered the water stream, unfortunately I added too much and really killed the flow rate. I may toy with siliconing in some fresh window screen at the edge of the brass fitting.

I also have a brass hose fitting w/ a gate valve, i'm going to tap near the bottom of this piece and put that in so that down the road I can empty it easily.

I plan on gluing the rest of it tonight and getting it wet this weekend when I can pay attention to the co2 levels. this thing is huge, I'm really hopeful that it'll reduce the amount of co2 bubbles in the tank.
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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-05-2013, 07:13 PM
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looking good, should be cheaper to build than the Cerges Reactor. i suspect the flow might be reduced in this design, will wait and see how this will turn out.
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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-05-2013, 07:34 PM Thread Starter
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looking good, should be cheaper to build than the Cerges Reactor. i suspect the flow might be reduced in this design, will wait and see how this will turn out.
i kind of hope it does reduce flow. Currently with the addition of polyfill to a sump baffle for polishing the water has caused the flow through the sump to back up a bit. I'm hoping to slow down the flow rate from the pump side with this to bring it back in line.

the home water treatment unit I bought for the cerges style i currently use was $60 at lowes. I think i've spent around the same in PVC but am getting a lot more space for the price.
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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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here's where I'm at. the barb for the 1" tubing will connect to another barb coming straight up from the pump. the 90 on the pump oulet is on a threaded piece, so I'll create another threaded piece that is the barb.

now, my dilemma is piping the outlet of the reactor; just look at the size difference between the cerges and mine, super duper!

I'm going to try a few things, since I'm going to put on a threaded slip. first is going to be 2 90's and a 45 to direct it down next to the reactor then a 45 inwards under the stand. I know you'll say, "but the flow scapegoat!!!!" I know... i'm not concerned. this pump already flows more than I need it to. And, I'm removing two 90 degree turns from the current set up.

if that proves to reduce the flow too much, then I might invest in more barbs and use a tubing to direct the outlet downwards



I'm also considering out to reduce the size of this style reactor for smaller tanks. this thing would be ridiculous for a 40g breeder. but I wonder if I could produce a 3", or even 2", diameter reactors that would work as well.

the problem this design has, in comparison to the other popular designs, is complexity. this thing has a lot more parts than the typical reactor; i just hope it works.
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post #21 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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alright. so I just hooked the reactor up. there is a lot more water in the system now, so when the pump is turned off we're about 1/4-1/2" from the rim of the sump. I'm going to look into drilled a siphon break closer to the surface of the outlet in the tank



with this set up, my flow doesn't appear to be reduced by all that much.

here is the surface agitation! it's perfect. when the lights come on I'll grab another shot. I won't know if this thing works as a reactor until the timer turns all that on. though... I could cheat and start it now.



aaaand of course we're seeping out at the base; and everywhere else I glued. guess i didn't use enough. will try to silicon it all well enough to hold me over for mk 2 to be built
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post #22 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
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This reactor works; though i'm not positive it's really any better. hours later, there are no air bubbles on the plants, and my water still has a ton of small bubbles. it's not terrible, nor very distracting. but, i don't think its any better.

that being said, i'm going to try pushing up some course foam below where the co2 enters. I don't think it's any better than the other reactor styles, and will still recommend the cerges style over any other for ease of set up. I don't think i'll rebuild this (i still have some leaking at some spots that I can't fix)
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post #23 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 11:05 PM
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Nice setup clean plumbing

125g,75g,50g,40g,27g,10g
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post #24 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 04:05 AM
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Very good try! I don't see why it didn't work better. We are missing something. Perhaps it is sucking in a small amount of air somewhere, and that is the bubbles? I hope you keep thinking about this to see if it can be simpler and work better.

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post #25 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Very good try! I don't see why it didn't work better. We are missing something. Perhaps it is sucking in a small amount of air somewhere, and that is the bubbles? I hope you keep thinking about this to see if it can be simpler and work better.
i'm going to get the pieces I need to put the house filter back on. it won't ruin the reactor I built, so I can continue to look at it.

it's in a bucket, and over the evening leaked out maybe 3" into a 5g homedepot bucket, but there is also the displacement of the 4" pvc as well.

I have duct tape wrapped around the leaking spot; though I think i'm still seeping at the bottom.

I may look into an aquarium safe epoxy that I can toss down into the reactor to seal it up. I can't reach the 4' I need to run pvc cement over the joints so I can give it another shot.

My one big issue is the size of this thing. it's huge. the extra water volume in the system is closer to the top of the sump (when the pump is off) than I'd like. I'm used to having maybe 1.5", now we're less than 1/2" from the rim. it also takes up a lot more space in the maintenance area; so i'd love to maybe put it under the tank. I have, maybe, a 2' length of 4" pvc left over, so I may make another, smaller, reactor with that. I could also try diverting some water to the reactor, and the rest right to the tank itself, since I have two outlets in the tank itself i wouldn't need to rejoin then, just put a ball valve on the non-reactor side.

Maintenance is going to be a pain as well. I liked the idea of opening it up to clean out, but the flush screw plate is a bear to get on and off! I very much prefer the ease of the cerges style. but my biggest issue with that is i haven't found a way to permanently affix tubing/pvc to the outlet inside. the plastic doesn't melt from the pvc cement, and the 1" pvc doesn't fit inside the outlet... but a 1" id pvc tube does.

I think the bubbles in the tank are smaller, but I'll see when i add the cerges back on.

right now i'm going to focus on getting a shelf/rack put together in the fish "room". I'll be picking up some jae barbs in january and want a place for them to live and breed. once they're in place I'll revisit this reactor.
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post #26 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 07:23 PM
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This is a very interesting thread. Thank you for taking the time to allow us to follow your build out. One thing I would like to tell you is that Sch 40 PVC pipe melts at 212f and you can easily soften the end of the pickup tube to snugly fasten it to the top of the cerges.

Cheers and don't give up!
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post #27 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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This is a very interesting thread. Thank you for taking the time to allow us to follow your build out. One thing I would like to tell you is that Sch 40 PVC pipe melts at 212f and you can easily soften the end of the pickup tube to snugly fasten it to the top of the cerges.

Cheers and don't give up!
well, it sounds like I've got a date with the stove and a pot of water tonight. thank you.

I've decided that I may give up on my mashup reactor. Instead, I'm looking to build a plywood sump to fit under my stand; and include the ability to seal the top. So, that may mean I can inject the co2 directly into the sealed sump. That'll happen in the spring though.
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post #28 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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well crap... this thing works beautifully! bubbles are so minimal it's just nuts. I might deal with this little leak for the time being and work on making another out of the left over piece of 4".
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post #29 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 05:22 PM
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I'm slightly confused, Is this just a larger version of the cerges reactor? Don't they all have co2 starting at the top swishing around and then going down to a pipe on the bottom? Nice build by the way!
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post #30 of 33 (permalink) Old 12-17-2013, 05:45 PM
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I was thinking the same thing as pianofish, how is this different other than being longer?

I'd be curious to see how much gas collects overtime at the top.
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